More support needed for diabetic residents
Caring Times, January 2013
A leading diabetes expert has called for urgent support for the ‘silent minority’ in care homes to avoid unnecessary suffering and even premature deaths.
More than a quarter of care home residents already have diabetes, which can be more difficult to manage in older people because of other linked disorders or diseases and their treatments.
Professor Alan Sinclair, director of the Institute of Diabetes for Older People (IDOP), is also urging managers and owners to complete the first-ever national Care Home Diabetes Audit, which was launched this autumn to examine current diabetes procedures and practices.
The calls came ahead of World Day Diabetes, which took place on 14th November. Organised by IDOP, in partnership with the professional organisation for medical diabetes specialists ABCD (Association of British Clinical Diabetologists), the care home survey seeks to identify quality standards that can be picked up by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and used to assess diabetes care delivered in care home settings.
Audit lead Professor Sinclair said: “According to our current research, the proportion of care home residents with diabetes has already approached 27%. Given this alarming statistic, we know that many care homes will wish to improve the ways in which care is organised and delivered for this large group of patients. Failure to do this will potentially lead to unnecessary suffering and even premature deaths in the future.
“This is a situation that can and must be addressed. These people are vulnerable and really need supporting with their diabetes, they are a silent minority. The first stage is to understand as much as possible about the current levels of care and existing procedures, which is why our survey is so important. I urge all care home managers and owners to ensure that their homes participate in this vital process.”
The recently-completed Beds & Herts diabetes care home audit pilot revealed significant variations in the access to training and education of care home staff who deal with residents with diabetes. There was also evidence of inconsistent documentation, including specific policies for the management of diabetes.
Questionnaires have been sent to care homes across the country. The project follows the recently-published Diabetes UK national guidance on diabetes in care homes (2010), which has sought to enhance the standard of care received by residents with diabetes. Professor Sinclair is also the Dean at the Bedfordshire & Hertfordshire Postgraduate Medical School (BHPMS) and a Consultant Geriatrician and Diabetologist at the Luton and Dunstable University Hospital.